BWW Feature: BROADWAY LOVE SONGS, DANCES & BACKSTAGE STORIES at Windmill Library Theatre

Photo by Dave McMann
Photo by Dave McMann

M&M American Dance Theatre celebrates musical theater with the founders, married song and dance team Michael Kessler and Melinda Jackson, when they perform in Broadway Love Songs, Dances & Backstage Stories at the Windmill Library Theatre on Oct. 19.

The renowned composer Keith Thompson teams up as their music director. Talented pre-professional competition winners from Innovation Youth Dance Company will round out the cast.

"I am so thrilled for our younger performers to join us on stage," Jackson said.

"We reached out into the community and added some of the top talent to the show with 23 young competition winners on the stage," Kessler added.

As Jackson explained, the young performers who range in age from 7 to 18 "are so divine with a hopeful look on their faces. They are so fantastic, so open, and there is a lack of inhibition."

Proceeds from the show will benefit their nonprofit M&M American Dance Theatre Works. Their goals include promoting artistic collaboration, educational, and cultural enrichment through exposure, mentorship, and involvement in musical dance theatre.

"We want to mentor and inspire these performers and glad to give them the opportunity to perform," Jackson said. "While many are not focused in musical theater but other aspects, they will stretch and look at new horizons with this show."

Native New Yorkers, they share a combined 30 years of producing, directing, writing, composing, choreographing and performing internationally. The stories they share from behind the scenes and their own personal journey adds to the music performed on stage.

Music from Broadway shows includes Showboat, Hamilton, West Side Story, Fiddler On The Roof, Oklahoma, Cabaret, and Lion King. They will continue to nurture musical theater in Las Vegas and expand the culture from New York and beyond. Jackson and Kessler see musical theater as a connection to the past while looking toward the future.

In fact, Jackson is proud to be the great-granddaughter of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. Kessler continues a time-honored tradition as the great-grandson of Russian Cantor Yacov Sanzofsky. History runs in their blood as well as their love of musical theater.

The couple has performed on Broadway, Radio City Music Hall, Las Vegas Strip, theaters and opera houses. In addition to international tours of their original shows, the couple has performed in Tommy Tune's Grand Hotel on Broadway, choreographed for the Winter Olympics, the U.S. Pro Gymnastics tour and directed and choreographed the 30th-anniversary tour of the hit rock musical Hair.

Thompson returns as their music director, and audiences will be delighted to watch him tickle the ivories. His credits include creator and producer of The Cocktail Cabaret, conductor and musical director for Broadway shows Jersey Boys and Cleavage, co-writer of IDAHO, The Comedy Musical and co-creator and host of The Composers Showcase at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. His other New York credits include playing for Broadway shows, Les Miserables and Sideshow, off-Broadway shows When Pigs Fly, Forbidden Broadway, Little Shop of Horrors, and Three Men and a Horse.

Broadway Love Songs, Dances & Backstage Stories will be performed at the Windmill Library Theatre located at 7060 W. Windmill Lane on Oct. 19 with show time at 7:30 p.m. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit their nonprofit M&M American Dance Theatre Works. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at www.americandance.biz or www.adtw.org.

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From This Author Debbie Hall

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